While the success of a draft class or rookie player can only be properly evaluated a few years down the line, it is not hard to feel optimistic about the New England Patriots’ first-round selection this year. Mac Jones did not only beat out incumbent starter Cam Newton in training camp to earn the QB1 role, he has also shown some impressive development so far this season.
At age 23, Jones is a potential long-term option at the most important position on the field for the Patriots. Not just that: he also is among the better young passers in football, at least if ESPN’s Seth Galina is to be believed. Ranking the best QBs under the age of 25, Jones took the sixth spot — just ahead of first overall pick Trevor Lawrence:
6. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Career PFF grade: 82.5
2021 grade: 82.5
Jones has done an excellent job leading the Patriots’ offense in his first year as the starter. He is 25th in average depth of target, so he is not firing difficult downfield shots often. However, Jones has been accurate. His completion rate (70.5%) is the fourth-best in the league. After not hitting a pass beyond 20 yards in Weeks 4 and 5, he has cranked it up in his past two starts — throwing five deep completions for 190 yards and two scores. That bodes well for the Patriots going forward.
Jones may not have made the flashiest of plays so far in his young career, but the rookie has developed well over the first seven weeks of the season. There have been growing pains, sure, but it seems he and the Patriots offense as a whole are trending in the right direction As Galina states, this is good news for the team moving forward — both in the short term and the long term.
As for the other players listed, the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson took the top spot followed by Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers), Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals), Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals) and Daniel Jones (New York Giants). Among the nine players ranked lower than Mac Jones are two division rivals: Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins) at No. 9 and Zach Wilson (New York Jets) at No. 11.